Weston Point reminiscencies

Again expansion, expansion, expansion, and this is where we pick up our first bit of real eye -witness Weston Point history. How many of you have read Alfred Holloway's Weston Point Remembered? When I first took over at the school, one of our dinner ladies, Little Ann, said "Oh, I know about the book you've been looking at. Mr Holloway is still alive and he lives in North Wales in Penmenmawr". We suggested to the children "Why don't you write to him?". They all wrote letters to Mr Holloway; he was delighted, absolutely thrilled. I told earlier you about my dear father. I received a letter too from Mr Holloway to say how pleased he was that his colleague's daughter was now in charge of the school, because he'd worked with my father. He told quite a typical story of a pupil at Weston Point. He was born in Weston Point, but his father came from the Black Country and worked for Mr Castner. Alfred's grandparents were housekeepers for the Castners. Alfred could see the schooner masts through the school window. This is in 1911 - there were still schooners up and down the river. In fact he sent a whole sheaf of pen and ink sketches to the children to show what Weston Point looked like when he was a youngster, and the sort of games that children played. On every one of them, facing towards the river, there are schooner masts there, so they really made an impression.

Children could be caned for bad behaviour. In fact the first thing I found in my office, in the bottom filing cupboard drawer, was the cane. It's the proper 'Will Hay' cane with the bent bamboo handle. And there was a punishment book, but there are no names in it. The playground was covered with cinders, that came from the classroom fires; the caretaker would just throw them onto the playground. In these days they are asking us to put rubber surfaces down on our playgrounds. Then you had to play on cinders, and nobody bothered whether they were hurt in falls or not. School was quite regimented, you were caned for bad behaviour and you didn't dare go home and tell your Mum; you'd be in more trouble, you'd get another smack. The boat children, the boatees, didn't like school. They worked on the boats usually helping with the horses, so when they got to Weston Point and it was turn-around time they had to go to school, and they always called the teachers Ma'am, even though they were Misses. There was a Miss Stott, she took Miss Dalloway's class on Friday afternoons for composition - writing stories, creative writing they call it now. Alfred Holloway liked that lesson best of all. The social life of the village revolved mostly around the Chapel, the Sunday School anniversary was always very important. Although the children went to a Church of England school, many of them attended the Wesleyan Chapel, There were Whit Walks, and the Whit Tuesday boat trip that went up to New Brighton and back.

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